Equality Alliance

E.A. News, Monday, 8th March 1999

LEGAL RECOGNITION OF SAME-SEX PARTNERSHIPS: A CONFERENCE ON NATIONAL, EUROPEAN, AND INTERNATIONAL LAW

Location: Centre of European Law School of Law, King's College, University of London
Date/Time: Thursday to Saturday, 1 to 3 July, 1999

Confirmed Chairs (as of 25 Feb. 1999) include:

For a full list of speakers and to register contact as below.

[For further information and a registration form contact: Administrator, Centre of European Law, School of Law King's College London, Strand London WC2R 2LS, Great Britain. Tel./Fax: +44-171-873 2387 (changing to 848-2387 from 7-April-1999), http://www.kcl.ac.uk/kis/schools/law/research/cel/index.html]


LITTLE VICTORIES AND BIG DEFEATS

      Abdou & Russell are the first couple to have to fight the government's new "fair" rules for immigration by gay partners. Abdou's appeal decision arrived - a few weeks ago in February. Abdou lost.

      The adjudicator found that he had to deny the appeal because Abdou didn't qualify under the governments self imposed rules - "It is clear to me that the concession provides that there must be a period of cohabitation of four years and four years means four years." "It is unfortunate because of the wording of the concession that they cannot comply with it and that in my opinion is unfair."

      He recommended - "I would like to think that given all of the evidence before me that the Secretary of State would strongly take on board my recommendation that this Appellant's case be reviewed and that this Appellant should be granted one years leave to remain so that he can come within the ambit of the four year concessionary period."

      The Home Office rejected the recommendation out of hand.

[For further information contact: Campaign Website http://www.sjbrowne.demon.co.uk/abdou.html
or email your support to abdou@sjbrowne.demon.co.uk]


LABOUR LETS DOWN HOMOSEXUALS

      Dr Evan Harris, Liberal Democrat MP for Oxford West and Abingdon, condemned the Government for turning its back on countering discrimination against homosexuals in the criminal law.

      In the Age of Consent debate, Home Office Minister Paul Boateng made it clear that the Government had no commitment to ending discrimination or achieving equality for homosexuals when framing legislation. Boateng clarified the Government's position when he rejected an amendment proposed by Dr Harris in the Age of Consent Debate, which would have given gay men accused of age of consent offences recourse to the same defences before the law which are available to heterosexuals.

      "The Government made it clear that the age of consent vote, which they were forced into by the European Court of Human Rights, was as far as they were prepared to go, and that other provisions that they had brought forward in the Age of Consent Bill, such as the decriminalisation of gay males under 16 were introduced purely to protect young people, and not as an equality consideration".

      Liberal Democrat Party President Baroness Maddock, and Liberal Democrats for Lesbian and Gay Action (DELGA) recently launched a 'Nothing Less Than Equality' campaign.

[For further information contact: Liberal Democrats for Lesbian and Gay Action (DELGA) Mark Ynys-Mon - mcy@demon.net [work] http://www.delga.libdems.org/delga/delga.htm]


BANK OF SCOTLAND TEAM UP WITH ANTI-GAY FUNDAMENTALIST

      The Bank of Scotland are entering into a business joint venture with Pat Robertson, an extreme right politician, described by some civil rights campaigners as the most dangerous man in the US. His avowed intent is to take over the Republican party and turn it to his racist, sexist and homophobic agenda.

      The Bank of Scotland providing financial systems support for Robertson's business ventures has sent Gay rights groups and individuals flooding the bank with complaints, withdrawing support and accounts, as they believe the Bank of Scotland is lining his campaign coffers through this deal, and thus providing substantial funding for his right wing agenda. The bank have declined to comment further, they state that media hype is to blame and that the deal is purely a sound business venture.

      Campaigners are outraged that The Bank of Scotland, which has an equal opportunities policy for its employers is setting up a subsidiary to be chaired by someone who heads a national campaign in the US against equality for women, Hindus, Muslims and LGBT people. To complain contact BoS on 0131-442 7777 to tell them how unhappy you are with this deal. You don't have to be a BoS customer, just insist on registering your protest as a concerned member of the public.

[For further information contact: Tim Hopkins, Equality Network, 58a Broughton St, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA
Tel: 07020-933 952, Fax: 07020-933 954, e-mail: tmh@dcs.ed.ac.uk, http://www.diversity.org.uk/equality/rob-bank.html]


SAINSBURY'S BANK IN THE FIRING LINE FROM BANK OF SCOTLAND DEAL

      Sainsbury's Bank, backed and operated by Bank of Scotland have started to receive calls demanding they put pressure on the BoS to end their relationship with Robertson, (see above news). Campaigners have stated that they will boycott Sainsbury's Bank too unless intervention is guaranteed.

      Protests both outside BoS HQ in Scotland and Sainsbury's Bank in London are expected to be launched within the next few days.

[For further information contact: Tim Hopkins, Equality Network, 58a Broughton St, Edinburgh, EH1 3SA
Tel: 07020-933 952, Fax: 07020-933 954, e-mail: tmh@dcs.ed.ac.uk, http://www.diversity.org.uk/equality/rob-bank.html]


PROTESTS TO TAKE PLACE OVER PCA FAILURE IN GAY PRIDE ASSAULT

      The PCA has completed in a few days the investigation into the allegations of corruption and a cover up by officers at Fulham Police Station and the Police Investigations team over an assault that took place by two uniformed officers against a member of Rank Outsiders for wearing some military uniform.

      Although the entire assault was witnessed, the PCA have found their evidence is inadmissible as they too are Gay! This is institutionalised homophobia.

      An urgent appeal is being launched for anyone at all who witnessed the questioning of an 'army type' soldier wearing a green beret immediately after the disppersal point at the end of the march last year, July 4th. Any information at all is vital, please telephone 0171-231 5183 in confidence.

      Gay rights groups have backed the case stating that it highlights exactly the same weaknesses, errors of judgement, and failures to follow procedure and the failure by the PCA to remain to independent and subjective.

      A demonstration is expected to place on Monday 22nd March when the letter and report will be handed to the Home Office and Police Complaints Authority in person.

[For further information contact: Ian Farmer, Action co-ordinator, EA, tel. 0171-231 5183]


TERRY CONNELL APPEALS TO EUROPE AFTER GROTESQUE HUMAN RIGHTS VIOLATION

      On Friday, 5th March, the Court of Appeal dismissed Terry Connell's appeal against his 9-month sentence for consensual gay sex in private. After a 15-minute plea by Connell's barrister, Terry Munyard QC, the Appeal Judges retired for just three *MINUTES* before returning with their typewritten ruling.

      Munyard commented afterwards: "The attitude of the Court to what they know is a violation of the European Convention is absolutely grotesque". Terry, undismayed by the ruling, is now determined to take his appeal to Europe, for this serious breach of the fundamental human right to equal treatment.

[For more information contact: John Hunt, Outrage! E-mail jgh@intonet.co.uk, http://www.OutRage.org.uk/connell99a.htm]


SEXUAL OFFENCES REVIEW COMMITTEE UPDATE

      As previously reported the Home Office are calling for candidates to become part of the first team to look into the Sexual Offences Review. Organisations have been invited to contact the Home Office in order to register their interest.

      There will be a meeting held Monday 8 March to discuss the community involvement. Any interested party may attend. Stonewall have kindly offered the use of their offices in Clerkenwell, the meeting commences at 7 p.m..

      Applicants may also write direct to the Home Office Sexual Offences Review Team, you need not be present at the meeting tomorrow to sit in the committee.

[For further information contact: Drew van Doorn, e-mail Drew@kapow.demon.co.uk, or meet at 16, Clerkenwell Court, Farringdon, London.]


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Last modified: 18-August-2000